Last night’s YouGov poll also included questions on Scottish independence, while ICM carried out parallel English and Scottish polls for the Sunday Telegraph. YouGov found strong support for a referendum on Scottish independence, with 61% of people supporting holding a referendum (including 76% of respondents in Scotland), although as we’ve noted before, referendums are intrinsically popular – I’ve yet to see a poll question showing people don’t want a referendum on something!

On timing, the balance of support in Britain as a whole seems to be for a referendum earlier than 2014. In YouGov’s poll 36% support a referendum this year or next year, 23% support a referendum in 2014, 7% later. ICM found a similar balance in England – 52% supporting a referendum as soon as possible compared to 25% who would prefer a referendum in 2014. In Scotland, however, there is more support for a delay to 2014 – ICM’s Scottish poll found 43% support a referendum as soon as possible, 41% support a delay. In YouGov’s Scottish subsample 25% would like a referendum this year or next year, 52% would refer a delay until 2014.

Asked about the referendum, neither poll had a straight “how would you vote” quesion. In YouGov’s poll they asked if people would support or oppose Scotland becoming a country independent from the UK. Overall 37% of people supported Scottish independence, 39% opposed it. Amongst respondents in Scotland the split was 45% support/ 45% oppose, amongst respondents in England the split was 36% support and 39% oppose.

ICM asked if people approved or disapproved of Scottish independence – in Scotland the split was similar to YouGov’s: 40% approved, 43% disapproved. In ICM’s English poll there was higher support, 43% of English respondents approved, 32% disapproved.

ICM also asked what people’s preference would be in a three question referendum – in Scotland 37% said they would prefer the status quo, 26% full tax and spending control, 26% full independence (Of course, if there was a 3 question referendum it looks as though it would be two seperate questions, not one three way question)

ICM found that 51% of English respondents thought that Scotland would be worse off if independent, with only 23% thinking they’d be better off. In Scotland the split was 38% of respondents who thought Scotland would be better off, 41% worse off. YouGov asked similar questions for both Scotland and England – again, a majority of respondents in England thought that Scotland would be worse off outside the union, with Scottish respondents more evenly split. For the English question, 36% of respondents in England thought that England would be better off without Scotland, 17% worse off. Most Scottish respondents thought that England would be worse off without Scotland.

In short, English respondents tend to think that Scotland gains more from the Union than England does, and in ICM’s poll at least this makes them more likely to support Scottish independence. Scottish respondents remain more divided about whether the Union benefits Scotland or not, and hence opinions on Scottish independence are also more evenly divided.

As we head towards a referendum there will no doubt be an awful lot more polling on Scottish independence. The figures on how people would vote in a referendum are probably not very meaningful right now – that’s one thing we should learn from the AV referendum – more important right now is understanding the broader opinions and concerns that lay behind those opinions and I expect we’ll have a lot more to mull over in the weeks and months to come.


287 Responses to “YouGov and ICM polls on Scottish Independence”

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  1. I read that Ron Paul came second in the new Hampshire democratic primary even though he wasn’t on the ballot!!!

  2. Allan Christie

    Poll

    http://www.scotlandvotes.com/westminster

    Lab SNP Con LibDem

    34 20 14 1

    -7 +14 -7 +0

    No change in ATTD-LAB MP’s from Scotland. 22 SNP + PC to choose PM if ATTD-LAB MP’s <22 +/- NI

  3. It seems to me that in the unlikely event of Romney toppling Obama, Huntsman is a shoe-in for Secretary of State.

    Can’t be the Veep. Too similar to Romney.

  4. John b

    Yes indeed, but it seems to me that there are likely negative consequences to a no vote, the Scots won’t be able to use an independence ref as a bargaining chip and I can see no reason why a Tory party won’t redirect spending from a region where they have no representation to regions where they are fighting hard in marginal(hello midlands) this might be another reason why the tories are keen to have the ref sooner rather than later. It would be wise to ask politely if there are any plans to reduce Scottish funding in the event of a no vote.

  5. I didn’t think Westminster (which I take it you mean when you say “The Tories”) controlled investment in Scotland?

    I thought the Scottish government ran Scotland, with funds allocated under the Barnett Formula, with the option of raising additional funds for investment through increased income tax, which they choose not to use?

  6. @RiN

    “Thanks, I don’t think the term “floater voter” is one you should embrace, there are many things described as floaters, not all of them good especially in the swimming pool :smile: ”

    Always rise to the top though. ;)

  7. Neil a

    What if the Barnett Formula was changed or abolished. Would you bet against such an outcome in these difficult times and would it not be popular in Tory/lab marginals, what would there be to lose

  8. Things in Scotland which are funded from UK-wide taxation include

    * Nuclear power (Four commercial nuclear reactors in Scotland, two still generating)
    * Healthcare (Scottish NHS is UK funded, tho’ administered by ScotGov)
    * The rail network (ScotRail runs the trains, but Network Rail owns the track)
    * The UK Armed Forces (Army, RAF, RN)
    * The postal services (Royal Mail)

    Things affecting the Scottish citizenry that are administered on a UK/GB-wide basis include

    * The National Grid (administered from Wokingham, Berkshire)
    * Diplomatic services (Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service)
    * Tax collection (HMRC)
    * Border control (UK Border Agency)
    * International representation (EU, UN, WTO, NATO) (HMG)
    * Internal and external security (Security Service, SIS)

    (Incidentally, some of those I would have sworn blind were UK-wide – national airspace control, national counter-terrorism enforcement, civil nuclear constabulary – are, in fact, already split. I did not know this.)

    So that’s the power to produce energy, the ability to transmit it to the home, the health and defense of the citizenry both here and off-island, one of the major transportation methods, one of the major communication methods, taxation, border control, representation and intelligence gathering. This is not to say that an independent Scotland could not organise these things for itself: it obviously could. But these things do have economies of scale and cannot be replicated quickly. Even if independence day is 1/1/2014, we’d still be dotting the “i”s and crossing the “t”s by 2024.

    As for the UK…Scotland is (very approx) a twelfth of its population and a fourteenth of the GDP. Without Scotland the rUK would become approx the world’s 9th biggest economy, just ahead of Italy.

    Regards, Martyn

  9. @RiN,

    Ah so you are referring to the Barnett Formula itself, rather than specific investment.

    Well, I don’t rule out the possibility that somone could put reform in their manifesto. But I can’t see it. One thing the independence debate will probably achieve is showing the English that Scottish hydrocarbons outweigh the additional funding they receive.

  10. richard in norway @ John b

    “….. it seems to me that there are likely negative consequences to a no vote, the Scots won’t be able to use an independence ref as a bargaining chip ….”

    SNP supporters would be disheartened and the big challenge for AS’s oratory would be to keep up morale for 2015 and 2016 elections.

    Independence isn’t a bargaining chip. 20 (+2) MP’s for C&S is 30or more (a majority of the Scottish MP’s) is, but ATTAD-Lab MPs from Scotland is the number to adjust ONS by.

  11. @ All who suggest there’s no case been made for the union:

    In my humble opinion, there’s no significant case been made for Independence.

    The oil vs. subsidy point is largely unanswered (from the perspective that there’s propaganda on both sides);

    The post-independence SNP aims are not stated (what will the SNP become after independence?).

    The currency aspects are unanswered (I accept it’s a Euro-status basde decision if such a decision come along, but there should be something based on Scots’ grwoth confidence, rather than UK or EU confidence).

    What of Scotland’s Army, Navy and Air Force?

    What of the masses of new civil servants, diplomats, politcal machiney employees etc?

    What happens when the oil runs out in 20-50 years time?

    If the referendum delivers a ‘no’ vote, when will you next demand one?

    Just few simple questions which are largely unanswered. There are many questions for the unionist side, such as,

    Why shouldn’t self-determination in itself guarantee a referendum, with just the Scots’ people voting (Will the UK people accept the French and Germans voting on an EU referendum in the UK?)?

    What do you have against democracy, in the sense that the SNP offered a referendum in the latter half of the term back on election night? Surely if your case is so strong, time is surely on your side?

    Anyone on Question Time soon? Ask some of those. :)

  12. @John B Dick

    re your reply to my previous post

    I was not asserting that AS would quit if he lost a referendum, more that he is clearly a powerful figure for the SNP and is popular. Will the SNP be able to maintain their current status if the referendum is lost (clearly possible) and at some point when Salmond is no longer at the helm.

    I know they have Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney as two prominent members but when I lived in Scotland 10 years ago neither was very popular and I am not convinced they can can maintain it.

    I do though admire what the SNP is trying to do and hope that their success provoke a positive reaction from SLAB and SLD as we could see an competitive, alternative script to the neoliberal politics that is popular south of the border

  13. Martyn

    ” Healthcare (Scottish NHS is UK funded, tho’ administered by ScotGov)”

    I think you have been misinformed. NHS Scotland is entirely funded from the Scottish Block Grant, and legislation over it is a matter for the Scottish Parliament.

    Anything that isn’t classified as a a reserved power in Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act is a matter for the Scottish Parliament.

  14. Not long to go before we see whether the Con bounce has stopped er bouncing and fallen back, and what effect Lab’s subtle “change” in policy (eg announced by EB at the weekend) will have on Lab VI.

    A wild guess…C39, L41, LD9

  15. John B Dick

    “No change in ATTD-LAB MP’s from Scotland. 22 SNP + PC to choose PM if ATTD-LAB MP’s <22 +/- NI"

    _______________

    Looks juicy to me in fact it seems so juicy maybe we could hang around in the union for a couple of years afterr 2015 just to watch them squim and wind them up !! ;)

    Thanks for the link to Scotland votes. Having a lot of fun with it. :)

  16. Martyn

    A very helpful list.
    F
    unded from UK-wide taxation

    * Nuclear power (Four commercial nuclear reactors in Scotland, two still generating)
    * Healthcare (Scottish NHS is UK funded, tho’ administered by ScotGov)
    * The rail network (ScotRail runs the trains, but Network Rail owns the track)
    * The UK Armed Forces (Army, RAF, RN)
    * The postal services (Royal Mail)

    I can see reductions in armed forces committments not least Trident and increased funding and other developments in postal services.

    Administered on a UK/GB-wide basis

    * The National Grid (administered from Wokingham, Berkshire)
    * Diplomatic services (Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service)
    * Tax collection (HMRC)
    * Border control (UK Border Agency)
    * International representation (EU, UN, WTO, NATO) (HMG)
    * Internal and external security (Security Service, SIS)

    We can probably save on all of these except the first and certainly NATO

  17. Mike N

    Not long to go before we see whether the Con bounce has stopped er bouncing and fallen back, and what effect Lab’s subtle “change” in policy (eg announced by EB at the weekend) will have on Lab VI.

    A wild guess…C39, L41, LD9
    _______________

    With Cameron cutting everything but the garden grass surely ED should be tanking the Tory party by at least 10 points??

  18. Neil

    Once the ref is lost and there is no chance of another one for a generation(Alex has said so) what does it matter if the benefits of Scotland’s hydrocarbons outweigh their extra funding. England can have both the oil and reduce spending for Scotland explaining that difficult times require difficult measures. What could stop them, as to having to wait until its in the manifesto, why!! I wouldnt and I’m a nice guy why would Dave and George wait, what’s the downside??

  19. Martyn

    Your Scottish GDP figure, how much of the oil revenue does it include and at what average price?

  20. statgeek

    The case been made for Independence.

    * Trident
    *Nuclear Power
    *CFP
    *Appropriate development
    * No ignorant government
    *No fundamentalist government (free market or otherwise)

    and for me the key to it all

    A full powers parliament based on the four Founding Principles

    The post-independence SNP

    What will the SNP become after independence? Who knows? Who cares, not the SNP?

    The currency aspects are unanswered.

    It’s discussed on UKPR. Isn’t that good enough?

    What of Scotland’s Army, Navy and Air Force?

    More appropriate navy, not necessarily less.

    What of the masses of new civil servants, diplomats, politcal machiney employees etc?

    Do we need these useless public sector workers on gold plated pensions?

    What happens when the oil runs out in 20-50 years time?

    Renewables.It’s very big.

    If the referendum delivers a ‘no’ vote, when will you next demand one?

    2020

    Why shouldn’t self-determination in itself guarantee a referendum, with just the Scots’ people voting (Will the UK people accept the French and Germans voting on an EU referendum in the UK?)?

    I made that point earlier. What better illustration could you have of Oldnats list of stages of awareness.

    What do you have against democracy, in the sense that the SNP offered a referendum in the latter half of the term back on election night? Surely if your case is so strong, time is surely on your side?

    It isn’t and they know it, but the polls look favourable now.

    First we didn’t need a referendumat all and shouldn’t have one because it is a waste of money..

    Next Bring it on

    Goodby Wendy

    Then you can’t have one, we won’t let you

    Now: we must have it at once uncertainty is damaging inward investment.

    Scots remember these flip flops and that isn’t good for Unionist’s credibility. Even if they are right, who but a partisan would believe them?

  21. STATGEEK

    I’m certainly not going to outline every aspect of what might happen in an independent Scotland – if for no other reason than we don’t know what will happen if we stay in the UK!

    However, let me raise some points with you.

    Defence – UK spends 2.7% of GDP on its armed forces. Norway spends 1.6%, Denmark 1.4%. If you want to have an interventionist approach to other countries, then you will want to keep the UK anyway, and will happy to pay for all that spending. If you simply want to have “defence”, then releasing over 1% of GDP to pay off debt or invest in infrastructure/services seems a more sensible approach.

    “What of the masses of new civil servants, diplomats, politcal machiney employees etc?” – We already have a civil service administering most of our domestic affairs. Currently we pay our share of the salaries of those providing diplomatic services etc. They don’t come free! Would we need to replicate the numbers of such people? Why would we? If you look around a number of capital cities, you will see examples of smaller countries sharing embassy premises. Again, if its international power politics that excites you, vote to stay in the UK.

    “What happens when the oil runs out in 20-50 years time?” – Since (even excluding oil) Scotland has the 3rd highest GDA of all the UK “regions”, why should that be a problem? In the meantime, the oil and gas revenues will help to manage the transition and to provide a sovereign wealth fund for the future. Of course, that wealth fund won’t be as big as it might have been because the UK has p1ssed what it has had so far against the wall. Do you want them to do that with the rest?

    “If the referendum delivers a ‘no’ vote, when will you next demand one?” When the circumstances warrant it – though it probably won’t be during my lifetime!

  22. Allan Christie @ John B Dick

    “Looks juicy to me in fact it seems so juicy maybe we could hang around in the union for a couple of years afterr 2015 just to watch them squim and wind them up !! ”

    SNP strategists are probably looking at that. Labour ones need to do their thinking well in advance. They could have a hellish Faustian choice.

    “Thanks for the link to Scotland votes. Having a lot of fun with it.”

    For maximum fun put the actual 2011 FPTP figures into 2015 Westminster and take Scotland out of the next ONS( if you can unscramble it).

    Then pretend you are Angus Robertson the day after the 2015 election.

    Do you remember what the SNP game plan was before devolution? A majority of Scottish MP’s seceding.

  23. @Neil A

    I think that should Romney win the nomination, he will be under supreme pressure to appoint Gingrich as his VP running mate. Someone with many of the same downsides as Palin, and a whole pack extra.

  24. RiN

    You are beginning to persuade me that even if independence is not a good idea, voting for it is the safest option.

    When could we have another referendum? In the circumstances you describe the anti tory vote and a squeeze on Slab would result in SNP having nearly all the MP’s in Scotland and the few Labour survivors would be under huge pressure to seceed with them.

    We wouldn’t need a referendum at all. It would be on the streets.

  25. John B Dick

    I don’t no what I did but at one point I had the SNP taking Bristol West.

    Based on May 2011 FPTP, SNP 43 SLAB 13 Lib Dums 3 and no Mundell. :)

    43 SNP MPs in Westminster and with at least 4 PC I think we could renegotiate the path of the border and also seceding Scotland’s place out of the Union.

    With neither the Tory or Labour party with a majority then if I were Angus Robertson I would play the trump card and bye bye union. It’s all so very exciting I wish we could fast forward to 2015. ;)

  26. @ John B Dick

    Scots remember these flip flops and that isn’t good for Unionist’s credibility. Even if they are right, who but a partisan would believe them?
    ——————————-
    They don’t actually remember these alleged flipflops. It seems to me, you are assuming the majority of Scotland shares your interest in Scottish politics. They don’t. e.g. Until I watched the Michael Portillo program about Alex Salmond, I had completely forgotten that he resigned as leader of the SNP & went off to live in London & be a Westminster MP. The only reason ever given was that he was bored with Scotland & Scottish politics.

    I’d say that should be a more memorable event than e.g. Wendy Alexander (a past leader of Labour in Scotland) having a different opinion to the current Coalition regarding a referendum. But most people don’t remember about Alex’s period of absence; & I would think that’s a good thing for him.
    8-)

  27. JOHN B DICK

    Mrs Nat (I should probably call her Mrs Devo-Max) says that she intends to vote for independence on the basis that Devo Max is what will actually happen, given the number of years that it will take to disentangle the UK. If she votes No, then we get sod all.

    Naturally, I deplore such cynicism! :-)

  28. Not that I would ever accuse you of using language in a partisan way, but “the only reason ever given was that he was bored with Scotland & Scottish politics” does suggest that you are not entirely without bias. :-)

  29. @Oldnat

    You said “…I think you have been misinformed (about NHS Scotland being funded by UK but administered by ScotGov). NHS Scotland is entirely funded from the Scottish Block Grant, and legislation over it is a matter for the Scottish Parliament…”

    That doesn’t contradict what I said. The money goes UK taxpayer->UK HMRC->UK Treasury->Scottish Government->Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates->NHS Scotland. I know ScotGov has administrative authority and can dictate where the tax money goes when it reaches it, but the taxgathering is a UK process and passing it to ScotGov is done via (as you say) the block grant. It all comes from the same bucket.

    After independence day, there’ll have to be a Scottish HMRC (HMSRC?) and it’ll go Scottish taxpayer->HMSRC->Scottish Government->Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates->NHS Scotland.

    @richard in norway

    I have no idea: I just subtracted the Wiki Scottish nominal GDP of ~140 billion GBP from the Wiki UK GDP of ~1650 billion GBP (2480 billion USD) to come up with a figure. Since I was doing it in my head I came up with a fourteenth, tho’ of course it’s nearer a twelfth – ouch! So approx a twelfth of the population produces approx a twelfth of the GDP.

    @John B Dick

    You said “…Do we need these useless public sector workers on gold plated pensions?…”

    If you want an independent state, you need an independent state apparatus: diplomatic consulates, intelligence gathering, air traffic control, fire brigades, tax collectors, customs and excise, police. They don’t pay for themselves and they don’t administer themselves. So yes, you do.

    Regards, Martyn

  30. Martyn

    You are really struggling there! :-)

    On that basis, why didn’t you include Scottish education, and Local Government, and Scots Law, and Scots Social work and …… in your list?

  31. @Mike N

    You may be optimistic, I fear. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Tories are ahead in tonight’s poll, benefiting from Miliband’s continuing travails and the fall out from the recent Balls speech to the Fabian Society where he said he couldn’t promise to lift the public sector pay freeze.

    Accordingly, I’m going for C40 L37 LD11 Others 12.

  32. OldNat & Amber

    At the time Donald Dewar wished him well “in what increasingly looks like a change of career.”

    Whatever led him to use the word “increasingly” seems to indicate corroboration of an earlier piece of information.

    I wonder what they were, what the change of career was, and what changed AS’s mind. His wife?

    Maybe the last was a changed percepton of the prospects of success under his leadership, but what changed it?

    Cerainly, at that time an SNP MP’s job was light work for good money.

    It certainly isn’t now, The workload exploded in May.

  33. Martyn @John B Dick

    “You said “…Do we need these useless public sector workers on gold plated pensions?…”

    I did, and I was imitating the many right wingers here who speak in such terms to ridicule them. Clearly you have become used to seeing such silly comments that you took it for real.

  34. We have a new Scottish thread! I bet you are all hoping for a Tory lead tonight (even the Labour supporters) so that there’s something else for Anthony to post about. :-)

  35. @JOHN B DICK

    Got to reply to John & Oldnat, so this will take a while, but have put my responses in brackets:

    The case been made for Independence.

    * Trident (Let’s just campaign / demonstrate for nukes off Scottish soil – Independence unecessary)
    *Nuclear Power (What’s wrong with nuclear power, and please don’t cite Fukishima as an argument, since it’s not relevant in a Scottish sphere)
    *CFP (No idea about this, but would assume decent lobbying / campaigning from related businesses would be a good idea)
    *Appropriate development (define appropriate)
    * No ignorant government (oxymoron :) )
    *No fundamentalist government (free market or otherwise) – (Difficult if some of the above are to succeed, such as the nuclear / trident policies)

    and for me the key to it all

    A full powers parliament based on the four Founding Principles (can you provide a link to them please John?)

    The post-independence SNP

    What will the SNP become after independence? Who knows? Who cares, not the SNP? (I care! Do I want a Labour Government forever in Scotland?)

    More appropriate navy, not necessarily less. (Air force? If a defensive armed forces, there’s little need for a Navy beyond border patrol. We will however require defensive air forces, defensive ground forces, including armoured forces. Special forces? Elite Infantry? Logistics? And what of ‘Scotland’s Oil’? Surely we will need sizeable defensive forces in the Shetlands? On the rigs? In other words, a defensive strategy, and that requires senior military individuals, who may not choose to join with an independent Scotland, preferring instead to stay at Whitehall / London, with all the perks and with their mates).

    Do we need these useless public sector workers on gold plated pensions? (I dare say we need the less useless or the useful ones, and if we’re an independent nation, there will be a need for Scottish ambassadors, aides, admin staff, embassy security in Edinburgh; the list is extensive)

    Renewables.It’s very big. (That’s a fair point, and I hope it’s coming to keep Scotland good regardless of it’s political future. However, without nuclear or fossil fuels, you can’t rely on renewables unless you have 100% catching capacity in both sun, wind or wave. Scotland is cloudy, so solar is less efficient than in other places. Winds aren’t always there, and sometimes they are too strong, shutting down turbines. No idea on wave power. Similar to wind, but more reliable I imagine.

    2020 (Why? LIke the EU with Ireland, you keep going until you get the answer you want?)

    Scots remember these flip flops and that isn’t good for Unionist’s credibility. (Agreed on that. Everyone knows they’ve talked a talk based on the likelihood of a referendum up till now)

    Lastly John, I want to make the point that I’m not pro or anti, so much as undecided for good reasons. Many unanswered questions. Many details left for later. I want what’s best for Scotland, but I also want what’s best for me, so I have to play Devil’s advocate to both sides when given the chance.

  36. @Oldnat

    You said “…On that basis, why didn’t you include Scottish education, and Local Government, and Scots Law, and Scots Social work and [so on] in your list?…”

    NHS Scotland is big, distinct, and as-near-as-dammit fully funded by UK taxpayer, so it was an obvious selection. But I didn’t know what proportion of education/law/local government/social work funding came from Scottish private individuals, Scottish local authorities or charities, and what proportion came from the UK-wide taxpayer. So instead of giving uncertainly uncertain figures, I left them out.

    @John B Dick

    Ah, I see you were using what you humans call “humour”. Strange species… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  37. Martyn

    Scottish education is “big, distinct, and as-near-as-dammit fully funded by UK taxpayer [due to the Block Grant method of funding the Scottish Government]” so, no.

    Your argument is as weak as a Lib-Dem vote in Glasgow (and you know it). :-)

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